Go on a Crime Spree and get short stories for free!

Taking a break before you dive in to your next book? Not sure what to read next? Maybe you haven’t read any (or many) short stories before, or maybe you think you don’t like them (?!) This is your cue to give them another chance, and perhaps to try out some authors you might not have read before . . . for free!

For a limited time only, you can download FREE short stories from 12 top UK crime & thriller writers, including: Mark Edwards, Harry Bingham, Katerina Diamond, C.L. Taylor, J.F. Penn, Angela Clarke, Lucy Dawson, Rebecca Bradley, Simon Toyne, Cal Moriarty, Marnie Riches (and ME!)

So why don’t you put the kettle on, make yourself comfortable, and get reading 🙂

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Please note: If you’ve already signed up to my mailing list, you can get my short story collection featuring ‘As Black as Snow’, ‘The Outhouse’ and ‘Pretty Woman’ by clicking on the book cover below (otherwise you might be signed up twice . . .)


Short Story Collection: Face Off #Review

To celebrate the 4th July – here’s a short story collection from The ITW featuring a whole host of thriller writers from the US (and more…)

From the blurb:

In this unprecedented collaboration, twenty-three of the world’s favourite crime writers bring you original, co-written short stories featuring their much-loved series characters.

Edited by international bestseller David Baldacci, this exclusive page-turning collection is one of a kind. You’ll find stories featuring:

  • Lee Child’s Jack Reacher + Joseph Finder’s Nick Heller
  • Ian Rankin’s John Rebus + Peter James’ Roy Grace
  • Michael Connelly’s Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch + Dennis Lehane’s Patrick Kenzie
  • Jeffery Deaver’s Lincoln Rhyme + John Sanford’s Lucas Davenport
  • Linwood Barclay’s Glen Garber Raymond Khoury’s Sean Reilly
  • Linda Fairstein’s Alexandra Cooper + Steve Martini’s Paul Madriani
  • Steve Berry’s Cotton Malone + James Rollins’ Gray Pierce
  • Lisa Gardner’s D.D. Warren + MJ Rose’s Malachai Samuels
  • T. Jefferson Parker’s Joe Trona and John Lescroart’s Wyatt Hunt
  • Heather Graham’s Michael Quinn + F. Paul Wilson’s Repairman Jack
  • Douglas Preston/Lincoln Child’s Aloysius Pendergast + R.L. Stine’s Slappy the Ventriloquist Dummy

A couple of my favourites…

Rebus vs Grace

When a dying man confesses murder to Edinburgh’s Detective Inspector Rebus he has no choice but to enlist the help of Brighton’s finest, Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, to investigate the murder of a rocker killed by a mod during the 1964 riots. Rankin and James’ lead detectives work well together, with a bit of friendly sparring and a combined investigative knowledge that leads to the unexpected revelation that the murdered man is not actually dead… with cameos from Rebus’s and Grace’s familiar sidekicks, this is a neatly plotted little tale penned by two of the UKs finest crime writers.

Barclay vs Khoury

In typical Barclay style, what starts off as an innocent trip for chicken nuggets ends up in a taut car chase, featuring a ten year old girl with attitude and one of the FBIs most wanted – a man with the means to destroy the world. Khoury’s FBI agent, Sean Reilly and Barclay’s most unlucky property developer, Glen Garber, are an unlikely yet perfectly matched pair in pursuit of the most important things in their own worlds. This short story moves at breakneck speed, seemingly covering an entire thriller novel in just enough pages to read with your bedtime cocoa.


Thanks to Stephanie Melrose at Little, Brown for the advance copy and Amanda at  Simon & Schuster PR for the blog tour info.

About ITW:

The International Thriller Writers is an honorary society of authors, both fiction and nonfiction, who write books broadly classified as “thrillers.” This would include (but isn’t limited to) such subjects as murder mystery, detective, suspense, horror, supernatural, action, espionage, true crime, war, adventure, and myriad similar subject areas. One of the main purposes of the organization is to provide a way for successful, bestselling authors to help debut and midlist authors advance their careers. In addition, ITW promotes literacy, gives money to worthy organizations, supports libraries, and advances the genre. For more information, visit: www.thrillerwriters.org.

Off The Record 2 – At The Movies #OTR2

I haven’t posted anything here for a while, but that’s not because I’m a slacker… it’s actually because I’ve been doing a lot of writing – which was my main aim after Harrogate (it was also to get the first draft of my novel finished, but that’s another post, coming soon…)

So I’d like to tell you about one of the things I’ve been up to.

You might have heard of a pretty cool short story anthology called Off The Record, where all the stories were based on song titles and all the proceeds went to charity… if not, you can download it for kindle here.

After the success of the original, editor Luca Veste has gone and created another one (this time with the help of Paul D. Brazill). It features stories from the likes of Helen Fitzgerald, Clare McGowan and Steve Mosby to name just three (the full list is here)

Again, the proceeds will be donated to literary charities (National Literacy Trust – UK and Children’s Literacy Initiative – US), but this time, instead of songs, the stories are all based around a diverse range of movie titles such as ‘Dead Man Walking’, ‘The Graduate’ and ‘Gregory’s Girl’… and also, ‘Pretty Woman’ – which was written by me. I can’t tell you how thrilled I was to be invited by Luca to submit a story… and I’m delighted to be included in this collection with so many fantastic writers. I don’t really want to tell you much about ‘Pretty Woman’ as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who decides to read it, but all I will say is that it’s of the crime genre, and it ain’t pretty!

It’s out on 26th September on Amazon – and I really hope you’ll take a look. A short story collection with a great cover, filled with great authors and great stories and all for a great cause – what more could you want?!

(note to self: buy new thesaurus)


Some of the other contributors have also blogged about the collection – please go and take a look (I’ll update when I have more)

  • James Etherington blogs about OTR2 here
  • RJ Barker blogs about OTR2 here
  • Erik Arneson blogs about OTR2 here
  • Mel Sherratt blogs about OTR2 here

National Literacy Trust: The reading charity of choice

Well folks, as promised… here are the details of the charity that I’ve chosen for donation of all royalties from the sales of the Once Upon A Time short story collection…

Ta da…

It’s the National Literacy Trust

I spoke to Lorna Taylor, Corporate Partnerships Manager, and she sent me a few facts and figures about literacy in the UK that might shock you…

  • One in six people in the UK struggle with their literacy (that means that their skills are below that expected of the average 11 year old)
  • One in three children in the UK don’t own a book of their own
  • 42% of UK firms are dissatisfied with school leavers use of English.
  • 12% of employers provided remedial literacy training for graduates.
  • 22% of men and 30% of women with literacy below entry level 2 live in nonworking households.
  • Men who improve their literacy rates see their likelihood of being on state benefits reduced from 19% to 6%.
  • Men and women with the poorest literacy or numeracy skills were the least likely to have voted in the 1987 and 1997 general elections.
  • Individuals with low literacy levels are more likely to live in overcrowded housing with reduced access to technology.
  • A literate family is less likely to experience divorce, as divorce rates amongst those with high literacy are low, and significantly lower than those with poor literacy.

The trust do a hell of a lot to help with these issues, for both children and adults – you can read  more about the projects here.  But like all great charities, they rely on donations to help them achieve their goals.

Did you know that:

  • £7 could give a child a free book and motivate them to read through an inspiriational event.
  • £10 could support a reading session for three families, helping them gain the skills they need to support their children’s literacy.
  • £20 could allow two disadvantaged teenagers to improve their communication skills in preparation for working life.

As I may have said somewhere before, I think short stories are a great way to encourage reading – not just for us with our busy lives, but for others, where reading even one of our 1-page tales is a massive achievement.

Something to think about…


You can order copies of the Once Upon A Time anthology via Amazon, here (UK) and here (US).

[Hopefully on kindle soon, too – I’ll update when it’s available]